For the record, let me say that I think guest blogging should be included in any content marketing campaign. Finding relevant industry blogs to become a regular guest author on has many benefits including: increasing your online brand presence, building your brand’s authority, developing quality inbound links, driving targeted traffic to your site and more. But I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the last few months that is making me nervous.
A few years ago, my inbox would be flooded with emails asking for link exchanges, the “I’ll link to you if you link to me” version of link building. Back then, link exchanges were a viable form of link building until Google decreed that they were black hat. As a strictly white hat SEO professional, I take my cues from Google and stopped getting involved in link exchanges with anyone. For me, a few links is not worth the potential long term damage.
Now I’ve noticed my inbox is slowly filling up with similar emails. Only this time, instead of “I’ll link to you if you link to me,” the main point being driven is “I’ll let you write for my blog if you let me write for yours.” Sounds like the same idea, doesn’t it? The increase of “blog exchange” emails I’m getting has me worried that the search engines might decide guest blogging is getting way out of hand and they will be forced to declare links earned from guest blogging as black hat link building.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with becoming a guest author on a trusted industry blog. Nor do I think there is anything black hat about accepting guest blog posts for your own blog. Where it starts to get a little murky is when bloggers from different industries are swapping posts that don’t impact each others’ audiences. For instance, I would never accept a guest blog post from someone who worked as a dog breeder. What does dog breeding have to do with SEO? Why would the people who read my blog care about dog breeding? Even if they are interested, that’s not the information they have come to expect from my site. On the flip side, why would anyone reading a blog about dog breeding care about SEO or social media marketing? Sure, I may earn a couple links from this blog exchange, but what is the real value of those links?
Link building is about much more than just rounding up as many inbound links as you can. I’m worried that an increase in blog exchanging will force the search engines to undercut a crucial component of content marketing.